Wednesday, November 22, 2006

TIME Magazine's Fun New Coveer Story (excerpts from a dissection and rant)
OK, I really got on a roll dissecting this TIME Magazine article, and certainly hope that I don't get anymore copies for free. Great cannon fodder, not good for the nerves particularly. But this "history" timeline was too good not to share and rant for a while on:

"The topic is extraordinarily fraught. There are, after all, a billion or so nonviolent Muslims on the globe, the Roman Catholic Church's own record in the religious-mayhem department is hardly pristine, and even the most naive of observers understands that the Vicar of Christ might harbor an institutional prejudice against one of Christianity's main global competitors."

That's right, it is all about that "nonviolent" percentage. Yeah, I keep picturing two bomb laden guys in Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder with only Obi-Wan's Jedi mind trick able to trick anyone into thinking "These are not the terrorists you are looking for, these are PEACEFUL MUSLIMS. We can go about our business". Just think, the media don't even have Jedi powers and they've been able to get people to parrot that garbage for five years while security officers search the underwear of old white ladies from rural Tennessee at airports. Please. And never forget to throw in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, which when discussing events as early as the Crusades, was actually the ancestral Church of all of our forbears if we are of Christian European heritage, whatever our beliefs now. Yes, unless one is adressing certain Orthodox Churches and sects, such as some that the Pope is in fact going to Turkey to visit, then discussing the Roman Catholic Church as just one piece of the larger picture is not accurate. And I seriously doubt that the Vatican or any other Christian lay or professional emissaries regard Islam as merely "one of Christianity's main global competitors".


The timeline in question is simply pathetic. It is biased, it is poorly worded (to show perhaps the bias?), it skips several centuries, and is careful in its treatment of the beginning of Islam. This bothers me, all of it. The other thing that bothers me is that if you are going to write a "History of Interaction", you should add more than a handful of questionable views of historical fact. Maybe this is why I could not find this in the online version, only the print copy. Therefore, let me reproduce it for you here:


589-632 Koran revealed to Muhammad; it shares stories with Judeo-Christian texts

711-718 Arabs conquer Spain, which becomes center of commerce and culture

1096-1291 Christian Europe launches the Crusades against Islam

1453 Ottoman Turks take Constantinople, capital of Orthodox Christianity

1492 King Ferdinand drives the Moors from Spain and next expels the Jews

1683 The Ottoman siege of Vienna fails, marking the end of its Islamic expansion

1965 The Vatican issues Nostra Aetate, which calls for interfaith discussion

2001 Pope John Paul II is first Pontiff to visit a mosque, in Damascus, Syria

Sept. 2006 Pope Benedict XVI links Islam to violence, igniting debate and protest

And that's it. That's the history of interaction. Never mind that it is merely belief that the Koran was "revealed" to Muhammad, a distinction usually not afforded to Christians or Jews, but instead given the common journalistic disclaimer "What Jews/Christians believe to be an event in their Faith in which.....". Note the conquest of Spain, simply put, but pleasantly wrapped up by the odd mention of the myth that it became a "center of commerce and culture" that somehow implies peace for the conquered. Then, oh heavens to Betsy, Christian Europe launches those darned Crusades! Why not mention the "interaction" that led to the call for the Crusades in the first place? Wouldn't want to anger guest writer Tariq Ramadan I suppose....
After some time of "European Christians" doing their Crusading against apparently placid Muslims, they somehow take Constantinople. No mention of how Turks come into Islam, nor of any Muslim activities that may have "ignited debate and protest" on the part of any non-Muslims. Skip to La Reqonquista, which was not glorious but involved "driving out", as of so much cattle. And note that the rotten Christian King also "next expels the Jews". Can't let that one slip, unlike the wholesale slaughter of the Jews of Granada in 1066. Am I being nit-picky? Pardon me, TIME. Skip quite a bit again to 1683, never mention the details of the Siege of Vienna, leave readers wondering just how anyone in Europe could have been hostile to the Ottomans while they've had a major city under siege and their failure brings "Islamic expansion to an end".

Please read the rest.


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